You’ve been asking me to finish the tale I began for a bit now. What with one thing or another I haven’t had a chance, so- I told you before I listened in when Siobhan told her grandson of her adventures with the fair folk. I ended it where she’d paused – when she’d mentioned their duties. So, I will pick up where I left off with…
Why They Watch
story by K.T. Seto
See the thing you must understand is that Fae kind predates humanity. Things were different at our beginnings – magic was more accepted and we could see it in the world around us without any trouble. Our little village has stood in one form or another since those times, as it belonged first to the Fae.
Lines of magic – we would call them Ley Lines run up to and through the borders of the Shire. The Sídhe used to build their villages at Ley intersections, because that made it easier for them to travel to the other realms. I can see by your expression you have questions about that – we must save those for another time, for now understand that the Sídhe slip through the ten other realms as needed and theirs sits at the centre of them all. Five Magical, five Celestial and the Fae balance In Between.
It is the separation of the Sídhe realm into two that is important. As I stated, our worlds were once one, and the door between them all was open and welcoming because the denizens of the other realms abided by the guidelines set forth by the rulers of the Fae courts and the Mother Goddesses of Alafia and Rudu. Yet the inhabitants of Rudu are only loosely bound by rules.
Rudu is the realm of Chaos and filled with things both dark and dangerous. Not evil per se but not understandable by beings of flesh. This is the issue, and what caused the rift. The beings that live in Rudu and the other Nether realms do not have permanent bodies, it limits them so they can never be like us. It makes them jealous. Eventually, their coveting flesh caused a long and devastating war. The Fae and their allies ended it and pushed back the Withering Dark of chaos, splitting the In Between. The Boggarts brought it back – thus obligating the Fae to set watchers in this realm.
It started slowly. First one then more of their kind sought entry. They found that they could slip in unnoticed – as they are entities of pure spirit they often floated in on wisps of wind when other beings traversed the Ways. Wherever they passed they radiated with the energy of their realm. The chaos magics. Boggarts are a peculiar sort of thing. Though they could go anywhere they are drawn to the damp. Just west of the village farmlands is a bog that borders the forest leading to the hills. The Fae seldom bothered it as they understand the need for such areas. There is only one real path through it, and most sensible beings go around. Which meant that it was some time before the Fae discovered the Boggart enclave in their midst.
The tree I liked to read under was quite near the heart of the forest. It sat beside the creek that ran through the centre and then further in merged with the bog that bordered the lake and Fae Hill. The lad I met – I called him Charlie after a character in the book I gave him since he wouldn’t give me his real name then – told me that since the split his kind patrolled the Ways and the forests to root out that which didn’t belong. After our first meeting I sought him out every time I got a chance, rushing through my chores to have more time to linger in the woods and walk along the creek. He would join me on my strolls most of that first summer, and as the weather started to turn more of his kind appeared. I didn’t think anything of it then, looking back now I could see the hints I missed. Something was choking the life from the forest. Something was making the trees bleed.
On this particular day, the day I learned why – I’d gone to my tree and found it hurting. There were several grooves in the bark and it oozed sap in a slow thick trail that ran down and away from the base. I couldn’t hear the woodchucks chittering overhead. I didn’t see a single bird in its eaves. The whole forest seemed to shrink back from it as if it could sense the wrongness. Charlie was nowhere around, but I could see the signs that someone or something had been there. My anger at the damage led me to follow the path of sap that led deeper into the forest toward Fae Hill.
I heard the voices first, a low murmur of sound that floated just outside my range of hearing. My anger carried me on faster, keeping the slim thread of sap in sight as I followed that whisper of sound deeper until I could see a grey haze over the lake ahead spreading towards the base of Fae Hill. I had never been to the bog yet somehow, I managed to traverse the only navigable path through it until I stood panting from exertion alone where it forked. One side leading around the lake to the Hill, the other leading around and down towards the bridge.
The voices grew louder, but I didn’t see anyone, and I realized they came from the haze. I could see figures moving in it but not make out anything or anyone and I felt myself tremble. When the first one appeared, I took a step backward but didn’t feel any real fear. Not then. It took the appearance of several more for me to realize that I had made a mistake, but my voice seemed trapped in my throat, unable to utter a sound as the large eyed creatures seemed to solidify in the haze.
Then behind me I heard Charlie call my name. And a dozen others of his kind stepped from the trees standing between me and the throng of Boggarts. I was glad the Fae came to my rescue. This was the first time they needed to do so, and it was the first time I saw them use a Fae circle for its intended purpose. We have many circles in the Shire, but then you knew that. I suppose I should tell you the why of that as well. But that is a tale for another time.
About the Author
K. T. Seto
K.T. Seto wallows in what if. She writes Speculative Fiction with a paranormal bent that ranges from fantasy, to science fiction and all things in between. Look for news of her work on social media @KatAboutThat on Instagram, @kat_about on Twitter and K.T. Seto-Author on Facebook. Or just go to her website ktseto.com